Archive for December, 2019

A review of “The Irishman” – destined to be a classic movie

December 31st, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Netflix, which funded this movie, has given us a classic. Most viewers will stream it at home and probably watch it over a couple of evenings, but I made a point of catching it at the cinema when of course I saw it one sitting (it runs to an incredible three and a half hours […]

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A review of “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker”

December 30th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Over 40 years after the “Star Wars” cinematic saga began, we have the ninth – and presumably last – episode in the three trilogies originally envisaged by George Lucas and I’ve enjoyed seeing each movie immediately it appeared on the big screen. The honour of closing the franchise goes to director and co-writer J J […]

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Where now for a devastatingly defeated Labour Party?

December 29th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

We have all given significant periods of our lives to the Labour movement, most recently as MPs and candidates in the general election. We have been horrified by the damage that Tory government austerity has wreaked in our communities, crippling our NHS, starving our struggling schools and transport networks, normalising street sleeping and failing to […]

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A review of the novel “Prague Spring” by Simon Mawer

December 22nd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

In some ways, Mawer is an unlikely fiction writer. He took a degree in Zoology at Oxford University and has worked as a biology teacher in Rome for most of his life and he only published his first novel at the comparatively late age of 41. I discovered him through his eighth novel, the wonderful […]

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How was your week? Did you have four scans, two samples, an ECG, a health questionnaire and a cognitive test all on the same day?

December 20th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

One day this week, I had no less than four scans. These were: Brain MRI scan. This provides information about the structure and function of the brain; for example which parts of the brain are important for carrying out certain tasks and how different parts of the brain are connected. Heart and body MRI scan. This provides […]

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How many countries have a name beginning with ‘The’?

December 17th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Wikipedia tells us: According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States Department of State, the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use, The Gambia is one of only two countries whose self-standing short name for official use should begin with the word “The”, the other being The Bahamas. Habitually, the definite […]

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Revisiting the 1978 classic movie “The Deer Hunter”

December 15th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

There have been many American films about the Vietnam war and “The Deer Hunter” was one of the first and finest, being nominated for nine Academy Awards and winning five including Best Picture and Best Director (for Michael Cimino who originated the story). I saw it on its original release and revisited it on the […]

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The British General Election: what now for our constitution?

December 14th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Two documents are never read by the overwhelmingly majority of people. The first is our constitution, not least because it does not exist as a single codified document, but it is nevertheless something vital to our democracy and needs reform but the right reform. The second is election manifestos because they are essentially only available […]

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The British General Election: what just happened?

December 13th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

First, some basic facts: This was the first December election since 1923. In most parts of the UK, the weather was wet and windy and the nights were long and dark. But turnout was 67.3%, only slightly below the 2017 election held in June. The Conservatives won 365 seats (with 43.6% of the vote) – […]

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King William III and “the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat”

December 10th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Today I was passing through St James’s Square in central London and took the opportunity to check out a statute in the middle of the square’s gardens. It is an equestrian statute with some kind of lump underneath one of the horse’s hoofs. What’s it all about? You’ll find the explanation here.

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